My daughter will be four on Friday and today after church, when we came home we took out the bible. It's fror 1975 and has a few different sections of pictures in it. One section with about 32 different pictures from each part of the mass and another section of pictures for all or well minus one set of mysteries from the rosary. Since in church today she was showing a real interest in Mary (and still thinks Jesus is a girl because she doesn't seem to be grasping that it's a robe he's wearing) I thought I'd introduce her to the rosary.
When we got to the crucifixion, I pretty much explained to her the same way you did. Only I didn't have the mind sense to tell her it was because they thought they he was offending God. I just kind of left it at they weren't very nice and didn't like him and so they did what they did.
I think she had more difficulty grasping the concept of the resurrection and eternal life. She asked me "so then does he [Jesus] put you on a special bed, and put tape on your blood? [meaning cuts and things]" Melted my heart to a little puddle. They say the sweetest sweetest things.
I hope to work on these things with her before this Easter vigil so that she has a little more understanding. I thought I would stay with the way the Veggie Tales presented everything in an Easter Carol, because I was afraid to scare her with images of the crucifixion. But perhaps there is a way to meld the two ...
Thanks for posting a topic that struck home. I do agree, and think you did wonderfully in your explanation.